Florida judge denies defendant’s use of medical marijuana, suggests Xanax

TAMPA – Dorothy Vaccaro isn’t a doctor. She’s a Pinellas County judge. And the woman before her was not her patient. She was the defendant in a misdemeanor DUI case.

Vaccaro told the 21-year-old that at her age she probably wasn’t suffering from PTSD or cancer and shouldn’t use medical marijuana.

When the woman said she uses it to calm her anxiety, Vaccaro told her that anxiety wasn’t a sufficient reason to take the drug.

Vaccaro advised the woman to consider Xanax instead, a drug with many known side effects.

Florida’s medical marijuana law allows MMJ doctors to authorize medical marijuana for patients for any medical condition they see fit.

During the Jan. 12 hearing, Vaccaro ordered a drug test and threatened to arrest the woman without bond if she kept using marijuana.

“Anxiety can be done a different way, through alprazolam, right? Xanax,” Vaccaro said, recommending the woman go to a primary care doctor. “So they can deal with that that way, and there’s a drug that they can give you.”

The judge said she might reconsider her decision if she got “all wiggy” on Xanax, or if another doctor wrote a letter to support her using marijuana.

The woman’s lawyer told the judge his client would get on Xanax.